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December 5th, 1965 - Buffalo Wins AFL East, Gogolak Sets FG Attempts Record

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

After winning the AFL Championship in 1964 the Buffalo Bills followed it up with their second straight AFL East championship on this date in 1965, guaranteeing themselves a chance to defend their crown. The Bills rode the foot of kicker Pete Gogolak to their ninth victory of the season, this one over the Houston Oilers.

The Bills, fresh off a tie with the AFL West-leading San Diego Chargers, were 8-2-1 and running away with the AFL East. Their closest competition had four wins with four games remaining. Nevertheless the Bills were committed to winning.

Gogolak started the scoring with a 12-yard field goal. After trading touchdowns with the Oilers the foot of Gogolak connected on another 12 yarder in the first quarter. He added a 47-yard kick in the third plus 34-yard and 19-yard scores in the fourth to connect on a total of five field goals plus two extra points. He also had two missed field goals. His seven field goal attempts in a single game stands as the AFL and Buffalo Bills team record. His five made field goals stood as the team mark for over thirty years.

Wray Carlton had an 80-yard touchdown run in the game as well and the Bills won 29-18 in Rice Stadium. The Bills won the next week as well to clinch homefield advantage in the AFL Championship with the second ten-win season in team history.

Gogolak set the still-standing team record for field goal attempts in a single season in 1965 with 46. Unfortunately he only made 26 of them. Despite playing for the Bills for only two season he is 13th all-time in scoring for the team with 217 points, a single point ahead of Joe Cribbs, and holds two AFL Championship rings.

Gogolak is best-remembered in AFL history for jumping to the NFL following the 1965 season. There was a gentleman's agreement in place that the two competing leagues would not compete on the free agency front but the New York Giants kicker had missed 13 consecutive field goals so they swooped in to sign Gogolak. It worked out well for him as he became the New York Giants all-time leading scorer and played there for nine seasons. He is a member of the New York Giants Ring of Honor.